10 An Elephant Made from Driftwood

10 • An Elephant Made from Driftwood

Cornwall, 1920s
Size: 70 cm high

This Elephant came from the overgrown garden of an old Cornish estate, and its finder kept it for twenty years, naming him Malcolm. Eventually he sold Malcolm, probably because his upkeep became too much, and his new owners changed his name to Oskar.

Anyone who has spent summers by the seaside knows the magic of what can be picked up along the shore. As the summer stretches on, curiously shaped and sea-smoothed bits of wood, polished pebbles and mysterious other flotsam line the window-sills. When the time to depart arrives, difficult decisions have to made about what can be taken home. When I met Oskar I realised what opportunities I had missed, collecting stuff and doing nothing with it. Unlike Oskar’s creator, who has provided a lesson in imaginative transformation.